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The attorneys at Lieberman & Blecher have appeared before many land use boards, planning boards, and zoning boards throughout New Jersey. They also have appeared before various environmental commissions and other governmental commissions relating to development applications, including the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the Meadowlands Commission and the Tidelands and Pinelands authorities.
The land use and development attorneys at Lieberman & Blecher represent many developers and property owners who wish to develop property. Often, developers seek out our attorneys’ expertise when the project is subject to environmental constraints, as our environmental lawyers have the ability and experience necessary to address these issues. This not only involves assessment and analysis of the applicable laws and regulations. It also involves the ability to assess and select the best environmental and development experts with the most relevant experience who can testify before boards and explain the relationship between environmental and land use laws, and how they function together with respect to the project.
In addition to representing developers and landowners, the attorneys at Lieberman & Blecher also represent individuals, community groups, and non-profit organizations that have opposed developments that present unacceptable environmental or other risks. Our firm has long fought improper development on behalf of clients. Our attorneys have been involved in precedent-setting cases concerning development opposition in New Jersey, including one case that established that New Jersey land use boards must evaluate the viability of stormwater management plans when considering a project—even before the state Department of Environmental Protection reviews the application. Many cases that appear before state planning boards and zoning boards have sizable stormwater issues. We use our experience in these areas to assist community groups and others who oppose land use and development projects that present stormwater and other concerns.
Historic preservation is another aspect of the land use and development process in New Jersey, and one that is of great concern to communities and individuals. The attorneys at Lieberman & Blecher are very familiar with the natural historic preservation legislation and local laws and initiatives designed to implement these federal programs. Preservation is a very important part of the land use and development process in New Jersey considering the historical importance of many areas of the state. Many of our clients desire to preserve this history, and in the context of land use and development, we help them ensure that historical significance is reconciled with contemporary use. This often requires our land use and development lawyers to object to those aspects of developments that run contrary to historic preservation goals. We assist community objectors in bringing their case before local land use bodies and pursue their cause through the courts when necessary.
The land use and development attorneys also have substantial experience with projects that involve cell towers, billboards and wind turbines. Many community groups and other organizations have retained Lieberman & Blecher to oppose the construction of cell towers, billboards or wind turbines in sensitive or inappropriate locations that would burden the host community. Our attorneys have represented these opposition groups before many land use boards, planning boards, and zoning boards. When necessary, our litigators continue to oppose these land use and development projects through the courts.
Other issues affecting land use development can include steep slopes, stormwater management, wastewater management, and the availability of drinking water. The environmental and land use lawyers at Lieberman & Blecher have substantial experience in each of these areas, not just from the vantage of state and federal authorities, but also from the vantage of local land use boards and the courts that often weigh in on these important issues.
It is not uncommon for developers and other real property investors to conclude that environmental issues are among the most significant issues that must be addressed as part of their land use or development applications. Land use work in New Jersey requires an understanding of local land use ordinances, case law concerning planning boards and zoning boards, as well as state and federal status that govern or relate to the land use and development process. Even more, nearly all land use and development projects require an analysis of outstanding environmental issues and a strategy for addressing them.
As with any environmental case, each land use and development project requires unique knowledge of the applicable rules and regulations. For example, wetlands—which impact many land use and development applications—are regulated at both the federal and state levels. There are freshwater wetlands and there are coastal wetlands, and each type of wetland has its own set of laws and regulations. Coastal and freshwater wetlands are also administered by different agencies, each of which requires knowledgeable legal counsel to navigate the bureaucracy.
Land use applications, including planning board applications, zoning board applications and other commission applications in areas where there are wetlands require an understanding of the wetlands, and an understanding of the constraints associated with those wetlands. Will an individual freshwater wetlands permit be available? Will a general wetlands permit be available? Is this just a wetlands issue or are there transition areas which also have regulatory constraints and will require permits?
The issue of wetlands presents just one example of an environmental issue that impacts land use and development applications throughout New Jersey. Other issues include stormwater management, threatened or endangered species, brownfields redevelopment or environmental justice concerns. There are other specially regulated areas in the highlands, the pinelands, and coastal areas, and each has its own set of rules and their own set of regulatory agencies that enforce those rules. It is simply not enough to just understand the requirements of the local land use, planning or zoning authorities. Success in a land use or development project in New Jersey requires an understanding of how to work with these specialized bodies. A successful land use application requires attention to all these details.
No matter the application, the New Jersey land use and development lawyers at Lieberman & Blecher bring their environmental law background and experience to bear on each land use and development project and help to ensure that our clients choose the right experts, submit complete applications, and make compelling presentations before land use boards, planning boards, and other commissions and agencies at the local, state and federal level.
While the issues that come with land use and development are many, Lieberman & Blecher, P.C. has both the experience and expertise to deal with whatever issues you may have.